My So Called Political Life

This  certainly has been an interesting year, from the perspective of politics.  Anyone can agree on that, whether they are excited for the election, or even just ready for it to be done.

It’s also interesting to me, in that my daughter can vote for the United States president, for the first time in her life.  I remember this being a little exciting for me actually.  I think for her, it’s kinda stressful given the choices that have been shoved into her face.

All this got me thinking, and I started to document my political memories.  Now mind you, this is my list, not by any means a history of politics in America.  Some of this is my perception of goings on, and could very well be not only my opinion, but factually wrong.  This is also coming from someone who has been relatively disinterested in politics, throughout my life.  So don’t be disappointed when I don’t go on and on about some local politician who changed my life, or you don’t find the answer to the red pill/blue pill question.  🙂

OK, here goes.

  • My first memory is walking to the school bus for kindergarten, listening to my brother’s friends arguing over who was better, Ford or Carter.  I “think” they may have had a mock election in my brother’s class, so it was a thing for them.  And, from how I recall (If this memory is even a real one), it was more about who was cooler.  Like “my guy is gonna beat your guy”, type of thing.  Like one might do this year if they are a Vikings fan.  I think many rejoiced over Carter winning.  I thought Ford had a cooler name.  I mean – it was a car, for the love!
    • Disclaimer, I’m going to look up to insure it WAS Ford vs. Carter in 1976.  I think so?  But I really, really don’t recall, and I wanted to be honest here that my memory is cloudy from back when I was five, so I just typed it out even if this is wrong.
  • I remember my grandma Kay and my great grandma complaining about Jimmy Carter, it seemed a lot.  Not ALL the time.  But for a moment.  Could have been around the election, I can’t recall specific details or timing.  But I gathered they did not like him.
  • President Carter liked peanuts.  Who doesn’t like peanuts?
  • I recall a bit of an uproar over Ronald Reagan, because he’d been divorced and remarried, and he wasn’t Catholic.  My grandma and great grandma complained about him a lot too, if memory serves.  I have no idea what their political affiliation was – I never asked.
  • I remember asking my mom who she was going to vote for.  She wouldn’t tell me.
  • I wanted Carter to win so badly in 1980.  I have no idea why?  I was a little bummed when he didn’t.  Kinda like our local sports teams, they always let you down…  (Not a prediction, Vikings fans!  But not necessarily not a prediction either?)
  • I remember thinking the President was our version of a king.  My teacher corrected me, making sure I understood a president does not have that kind of power – nor should they.
  • I remember it was a big deal when President Reagan got shot…  Kinda scary.  We watched the news stuff in school.  I was glad he pulled through.
  • Robin Williams did a hilarious Ronald Reagan skit on SNL, where he was meek and timid and gentle around guests – but when they left, he was a notorious warlord looking to take over the world.  I laughed.
  • Phil Hartman did a pretty good Reagan too.  I laughed some more.  “Well….”
  • I remember asking my mom who she was going to vote for again in 1984.  She wouldn’t tell me…
  • I remember my then boss (female, mind you) making jokes about voting for “bush” or “dukakus” (spelling?).  I turned 18 like a week after the election, so I did not care who won.  But I thought the inappropriate, immature jokes from my boss were kinda funny.
  • I asked my mom again, in ’88 – she still wouldn’t tell me…
  • Potatoe…
  • I was able to vote for a president in 1992!  And for a moment I really thought about voting Ross Perot.  But he bailed out, then came back, I thought he was flaky.  So I voted for the cool guy, who played saxophone on Arseneo Hall.  I mean – Bill Clinton was just plain COOL.  Who wouldn’t want a president you can related to?
  • My MOTHER still would not tell me who she would vote for, even though I was willing to tell HER who I was going to vote for.  MAN, she just won’t budge!
  • Paul Wellstone was a hero among many of my friends.  I didn’t know much about him – I still don’t – but he’s a hero to many even today.
  • I voted for President Clinton again i 1996.  It was cool to be on the winning team, and I still thought he was cool.  And Phil Hartman and the other SNL guy (His name is escaping me at the moment) both did incredible Bill Clinton impersonations.  Made for great tv.
  • I have no idea who my mom voted for…  I don’t even know if I asked her…
  • I don’t recall WHEN the whole Monica Lewinski thing came out?  I actually defended Bill Clinton, not because I thought what he did was ok – because I thought that’s what ALL politicians did.  So why were they so quick to crucify President Clinton for something they themselves were doing?
    • I was lovingly but aggressively corrected by a friend’s very liberal mother – “HE LIED TO US.  HE SHOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT”.  It took me back, and I remember thinking, “Yeah are we supposed to expect more from those in office?  Probably…”
  • Jesse Ventura, a professional wrestler, ran for governor of Minnesota.  This caught my attention, because I WATCHED him as a kid, every Sunday morning.  I hated him.  He was an arrogant jerk.  But y0u know what?  He was a jerk in politics too.  BUT – he was the first person who I thought wasn’t telling me what I wanted to hear.  He made sense on many issues, even if I didn’t agree with him.  So I voted for him.
  • No idea if my mother voted for Ventura…
  • I remember I did NOT want George W to win.  But he did.  After a ton of recalls, busted chads, etc.  I gave up on it, long before the Democrats did…
  • I have NO IDEA what my mom thought about any of that…  Don’t ask…
  • Then 911 happened….  My perspective on President Bush changed drastically after that.  That man handled that situation, and led us as a country, beautifully.  Sure, other men would have done the same.  I think incredible moments bring out the best in us.  And it seemed that way with President Bush in 2001.
  • I voted for President Bush in 2004.
  • I read a very funny book on politics by Jon Stewart, in 2004 or ’05.  I really enjoyed it.  It made me think that politics are maybe a bit of a joke, and politicians as well.  But then, it was relatively easy for me to come to that conclusion, having really not cared much about politics up to that point.
  • I gave my life to Christ in 2007.  This has nothing to do with politics.  But it was definitely more life-changing than ANY political event.
  • In 2008, there was a promise of “hope”, and “change” going against a very respectable war hero and a potentially insane running mate.
  • I remember an evangelist writing about the “hope” that many were putting in Obama.  It was pivotal for me, because he talked about Jesus, and how so many wanted Him to be the political savior that He was never meant to be (at least not in that moment in history).  Christ’s purpose was to save us in a way that no politician ever can.  Including even Barak Obama.
  • I remember talk about Obama being the first black president.  He ran against Hillary Clinton, who could have been the first female president, for the Democratic nomination.  Some were THRILLED that we might have a first black president.  Some were – not so thrilled…
  • I remember I did not care about the election, or any of the hoopla building up to it.  Because my dad was dying of cancer.  We as a family were pretty wrapped up in all that.  I didn’t even vote.  I was heading to the nursing home my father was staying in, as he rapidly declined, on election day.
  • My father died November 7th, 2008…  I think three days after Barak Obama was elected president.
  • I remember thinking that President Obama brought out the worst in people.  Let me be clear – not HIM, or his presidency.  Just the fact that we had a black president, something completely new to us, which should be a momentous occasion, also brought about ugliness in people.  There were some who really, really hated that idea. And their ugliness showed.  There were also some who just did not like what President Obama, a Democratic liberal president, stood and fought for.  And they were accused of being racist.  Just because President Obama was black.  It’s not fair to judge a man by his skin color – whether that be in a negative way, or running to his defense.  But many, many, many did…  And still do…
  • President Obama is very cool.  Cooler for sure than Bill Clinton was.  And Michelle Obama is equally cool.
  • I remember a lot of talk, and argument, over healthcare.  Of course, everyone should be treated medically, as needed.  But I couldn’t understand why the federal government was responsible for this. I was (and still am) very ignorant to how things work, or should work, in our world.  A friend pointed out, when I described the pretty decent care my uninsured father was given, was because he was in Minnesota, and that other states did not offer that to people in need.  “Why don’t other states just figure that out individually”, I thought.  Why try and do some gargantuan thing, that the federal government will likely mess up anyway?  I doubted, and still doubt, that those who needed help would actually get it from our government.
  • For the first time in my life, I thought we as the church needed to start stepping up.  Not POLITICALLY.  But in a way, to help our neighbor, that might over time make our neighbor become less reliant, dependent, a slave to, the government.  But what does that look like?  I still don’t know.  But not having the answer does not take away the responsibility we have as the body of Christ.
  • I remember thinking that many who cried out about political injustices, and how wrong democrats were – some of my conservative christian friends – seemed to put more care into what is going on in our country politically, our government, with our “christian rights” and all that crap, than they did in the eternal fate of so many.  I mean – people who weren’t conservative, were “them”, to some. It was all a bit discouraging…
  • I remember being thoroughly disgusted in 2012, when I found out that in Minnesota it was CONSERVATIVES who wanted to vote on whether or not homosexuals should be able to legally marry.  We’re not talking about being married in a Christian church, a muslim mosque, etc.  We’re talking about marriage, and the “rights” that have been afforded married couples by our government.  A yes vote meant you were against gay marriage.  I vowed I would not vote Yes.  I could not vote No, based on the framing of the question (“Marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman”, or something like that).  But a non-vote was a “No” vote.  I thought, “GOOD.  Screw them.  Why are we voting on something like this anyway?  And why is the government in the business of marriage at all??”  Puke in mouth..
  • I remember considering whether I wanted to vote Republican.  I did not think I could vote Democrat.  Life mattered to me. And Democrats, while often noble in their desires, want to fix things, try and help people, by taking money from others.  That money, if well-used, could probably help others.  But it’s involuntary.  When you consider how many millions upon millions of dollars were raised by texting a number to help those afflicted by earthquakes in Haiti – VOLUNTARILY – and how many volunteers came forward to help those in New Orleans and other places – we as a people CAN and MUST do whatever it takes to help, VOLUNTARILY.  Taking it or forcing it against ones will, will not work.  PLUS, the government will just squander that money anyway.  So – I cannot vote Democrat.
  • Add to that – I for the first time in my life, was considering voting on the pro-life/pro-choice topic.  Not because I thought a President would abolish Roe V. Wade (I still doubt they actually will, or actually care – another topic I think should not be relegated to politics, but should be openly discussed, even argued over).  Because I did not want my tax dollars to pay for someone to kill their child.  That is something they would have to live with, the rest of their life.  I did not want to be part of it.  If you disagree – see my point above about how much money can be raised voluntarily.  Raise the money, don’t take it from others.
  • I remember thinking for the first time since 1992 about voting 3rd party for a president.  And in 1992, I didn’t really know that 3rd party was such a “taboo thing”.  I started hearing more and more about “wasting your vote”.  I still think that is a ridiculous fear tactic.
  • I remember reading about how Billy Graham, or Franklin Graham (can’t recall which one), apparently removed “Mormons” from their list of cults, as they were going to endorse Mitt Romney.  I found, and find that odd, even today.
  • I did wrestle with the notion of voting for a Mormon.  In the end, I voted on the issues, not the man’s faith.  I’d NEVER voted based on one’s faith in the past – why start now?
  • I ended up voting Romney.  I ended up voting based on the pro-life issue, and my desire to keep the federal government from taking money from people against their will, to fund abortions.
  • I did however cave on the marriage vote…  That is not my proudest moment.  Remember, I was adamant I was going to not vote on that.  I was not coerced, guilted,or threatened outwardly.  Those I did discuss with, understood my stance, whether they agreed or not.  I voted “yes”, however, because the question was worded in how one recognizes marriage, that the bible recognizes it as a union between one man and one woman (again, something to that end).  I voted based on that, even though this to me really had nothing to do with what someone should have legal right to do. Even though the No’s won, and a year or two later gay marriage became legal throughout the country, I still voted against my conscience…  The first time, right or wrong, I EVER voted in a way that made me feel dirty.  And – the last time..
  • Some time after the 2012 elections, some time in the last four years, I started to hear more and more this term “christian nation”.  It may have been before 2012?  But it’s really been THE THING as of late.  Now – keep in mind, this is my perception.  This could have been a thing my entire life.  But I was oblivious to it.
    • I wish I were still…
  • I remember being extremely embarrassed over the entire “birther movement” thing.  Those involved, should apologize to President Obama, and his family.  I don’t think it needs to be public.  But if you were a “birther”, you may want to consider writing him and his family a letter…  I’m not saying you have to.  I’m not trying to shame you.  I would do it, if I were one of them.
    • Which makes me think I should write a letter to someone, about my stupid marriage equality vote in 2012…
  • I remember hearing about Donald Trump throwing his hat in the ring, to run for president.  No way, he’ll ever get the nom  but if he did, he can’t be bought by lobbyists.  That’s a plus.  And he calls it like it is.  I may not like everything he says, I don’t like what I know of his character, and he’s goofy (“You’re fired” anyone?).  But he’s not your typical politician.  Sort of like Ventura?
    • That changed quickly.  And I kept being more and more surprised he’s still in the race!  But no way he’s going to get the nom.
    • And then he did…
  • On the other side, we had the Bern.  Bernie Sanders is full of piss and vinegar.  Bernie Sanders has more energy than my four year old grandson.  Bernie Sanders has a history of passionately fighting for what he believes in.  I wonder, is he similar to what Paul Wellstone, why he was so beloved?
    • Bernie Sanders is the first presidential candidate that was unapologetic about his lack of “religious affiliation”.  Which for me, was actually refreshing.  I don’t know why?  I don’t particularly care (I worked through that, with Romney in 2012, and recall I simply never paid attention to that prior)?  But, while I won’t pretend to know that every candidate was less than honest, when you get the stock answer, “Well, I grew up in the church.  And my faith – you know – um, my FAITH, it means everything to me.  It guides my life.  But I assure you, I will not let my faith dictate policy…  Unless, um – unless of course you want me to?”  – or some stock answer that somehow pleases both sides, but might be not so genuine.  Why bother?  And why ask the question.  Bernie Sanders blew that up, and that question may just disappear, or at least the need to try and answer it in a way that wins people over.  Who knows.  I liked it.
    • But Bernie was not for me.  I’m not a socialist.  I LOVE that we can and should help our neighbor.  That is biblical.  Giving to those in need, is biblical.  But not TAKING from someone else to give to someone in need – even someone stupidly rich.  That’s not biblical.  That’s what socialism is.  That’s what wealth redistribution is.  It’s involuntarily “sharing”.  It’s like Robinhood.  It’s – theft.  I don’t think someone like Bernie Sanders thinks it is theft. I think some might, if they were honest.  But I do truly think he believes in what he’s fighting for.  He’s just – wrong.  And wrong for me.
  • So we’re where we are today.  With the two major party candidates we have.  And a handful of 3rd party candidates that are interesting to me, and many others.  I will be very curious to see how this year plays out.  But I’ll sleep well on election night, and the night after, God-willing.

One thing from all of this, that I learned.  From my lovely mother.  I’m not telling you who I’m voting for.  🙂

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